Jeff Gorton Kent Hughes Geoff Molson

Habs GM Kent Hughes: “My vision is to build a team that can win for years”

The new Canadiens GM suggested today that a full-on rebuild is unlikely but firing Ducharme is not out of the question.

The new General Manager of the Montreal Canadiens — the Montreal-born, French-speaking player agent Kent Hughes — spoke to the media this afternoon alongside team owner and CEO Geoff Molson and Hockey Operations VP Jeff Gorton. Having just accepted the post on Monday, the self-described “hockey junkie” declined to share his views about how the organization should reverse the situation that has landed the team in the gutter this season. But while it’s too early for any semblance of a definitive plan to be in place, Hughes dropped hints about where he stands on several short and long-term issues, notably the notion of a rebuild and the status of Coach Dominique Ducharme.

On Dominique Ducharme

“I certainly have beliefs about what a modern-day coach should be, or have in terms of qualities, and I’m anxious to speak to Dom, to learn more about him. Ultimately we’ll see where things take us from there.”

On tearing down and rebuilding the team for the long-term

“We have challenges. There’s no question the team is not where we hoped it would be or where the Canadiens hoped it would be at this point in time. There’s no question there need to be changes.”

“We’re going to try to create a very modern organization that players want to be a part of.”

“In a perfect world, we would be an offensive-minded hockey club. I don’t think you can be successful in the NHL today without being a defensively responsible team — we see teams in the NHL where the focus is strictly defensive and others that are more creative. I envision a team that plays fast but plays fast with the puck — a possession hockey team.”

On not rebuilding… but maybe retooling or resetting?

“The word doesn’t matter to me, whether it’s rebuild, retool, reset. My vision is to build a team that can win for years.”

“There are some really interesting pieces here in Montreal that can be built around. There’s a different set of players: We have young exciting players, whether it be Suzuki or Caufield, and we have older, more established players. My job is to sit here with Jeff — we’re gonna spend a lot of time, probably speak ad nauseam about what to do here, what’s the vision, what are the first steps. But I can’t answer any of those questions without getting to know people.”

“I also understand that you have to build a team around the players that you have, and that’s going to be a process for us as we move forward.”

The complete press conference with Kent Hughes, Geoff Molson and Jeff Gorton can be viewed below.

Habs GM Kent Hughes: “My vision is to build a team that can win for years”

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